Confusion might be the word that best describes many Americans’ reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations seemingly change every week, and those who attempt to follow those suggestions are left scrambling.
President Joe Biden and his administration have not done much to help ease that confusion. As an example, the latest guidance from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has frustrated companies nationwide.
According to Engineering News-Record, OSHA said in its April 20 safety guidance that companies which require their employees to be vaccinated will now be on the hook for any adverse reactions.
“OSHA states that if a vaccine is required, then any adverse reaction is considered work-related and therefore it must be recorded,” ENR reported.
“Under OSHA rules, most employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Recorded injuries and illnesses become part of a contractor’s safety record.”
As a result, many companies are abandoning their vaccine requirements for fear they could harm their safety record, which could potentially cost them, ENR reported.
“We, sadly, had to back off our (employee vaccination) mandate because OSHA did something I don’t understand at all,” Clayco founder Bob Clark said on ENR’s Critical Path podcast.
“I side with OSHA frequently — we’re in its VIP program — but on this they’re just wrong. It’s a terrible decision they’ve made, and I think it’ll be (changed).”
Many conservatives have spoken against vaccine requirements from employers. However, even companies that don’t require the COVID vaccine fear this OSHA decision could hurt them.
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Kevin Cannon, senior director of safety and health services at the Associated General Contractors of America, said that while his company “is not in support of any mandate,” it participated in vaccine awareness week from April 19-23.
In addition, some job sites or offices hosted clinics offering the vaccine to workers who choose to get it. Cannon told ENR that under the new guidance, his member contractors might be less likely to host even optional events.
“What they (OSHA) put forward could potentially discourage employers from supporting their workers getting the vaccine,” he said.
Cannon also explained that if a project site such as a hospital requires workers to be vaccinated, it could put an undue burden on AGC even though the group doesn’t support any vaccine mandates itself.
“We agree OSHA has caused significant confusion with this guidance,” said Donna Reichle, senior director of public affairs at the Associated Builders and Contractors. “Industry groups will be seeking clarification from the agency.”
No matter how one feels about the constitutionality of vaccine requirements, it’s easy to see how this OSHA guidance puts employers in a difficult position.
For an administration that supposedly wants to get more Americans vaccinated, it has pursued policies that discourage immunization.
For months, Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Americans they had to mask up even if they were vaccinated. It wasn’t until recently that the CDC dropped that requirement.
Now the agency is telling employers they could be held responsible for any adverse effects the vaccine causes in employees. This has caused confusion and worry even for companies that do not support a vaccine mandate, such as AGC.
“It’s almost like they haven’t talked to the rest of the Biden administration about the goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” Brian Turmail, AGC’s vice president of public affairs, told Engineering News-Record.
Again, the federal government’s insistence on getting involved in nearly every issue has backfired and caused mass confusion.
The supposedly pro-vaccine Biden administration continues to create more reasons for people not to be immunized.